martes, 19 de mayo de 2009

Memoirs of a Gay Guy: Society, Religion, Science and Me.

Memoirs of a Gay Guy: Society, Religion, Science and Me.

I'd always hear the following phrase whenever homosexuality was discussed in a public forum: Is Gay made, or born that way? It was a confusing question: First of all, it was a question of how to make a human being—the first being the societal influences and the upbringing of an individual, and the second being for natural reasons implemented in the natural form of the being. To me, it still is a confusing question, because everyone seems to discuss it, but there is not a collection of science and fact widespread throughout society that explains these things to us when we're children. I grew up with the idea that gay people were something else, that they were a part of society that we were impermeable to, like an indian reservation: we know it's there, we just don't have contact with it. This very alienation never gave me any curiosity regarding what homosexuality was when I was a kid. I just knew it was there, that it existed, and that I was not a part of it.

That was, of course, until I grew up and realized exactly what I was.

There is something about society and its diverse groups that puzzles me. We're raised to think locally and about what is familiar, and not really know about the rest of the world—hey, we have enough things to think about by ourselves. But homosexuality was discussed almost hush-hush around me, as if the very idea would corrupt my fragile little mind. I ended up learning about it when I was in elementary school, by people who had a vague idea of what it was when they were in grade school. Through my young little classmates I understood that being gay was something to be made fun of, that their parents didn't like and didn't want to fully explain to their children. I was fed, bit by bit, little segments of information. Along with whatever I heard from my parents, I'd struck up an image—that all gays were effeminate, liked to crossdress, talk and act like women and, well, that they liked men. But no one ever really seemed to explain it to me. I was in the dark. Being in the dark can be very dangerous to someone who suddenly needs information about something. Think about someone who doesn't know about cancer—and is told they have it. They would feel completely lost—as did I, when I figured out I was gay. Of course, by the time I made the realization I liked men, I was a bit older and was well beyond the age of reason, able to find information by myself—but of this, I will discuss later.

Misinformation leads to a lot of assumptions. If there's something I've learned when I talk to people about homosexuality, is that they all seem to know very little above what they already have heard from their peers. This is particularly prominent in people who do not have a gay friend or relative. Whenever I enter the issue, I get so many questions from people of all gender and age. The questions range from what I would consider obvious, to the harder, much more difficult to elaborate answers. It intrigues me. I want to answer all the questions, and what I do is take little Educated Guesses to fill some of the gaps—hunches, and ideas that i've formed from what I have observed, because I feel sometimes it's better to have two thirds of an answer than none, on a topic that needs more people exposing on it. I am, in no way, a scientist or a social scholar. I'm a person. But I have the ability to observe and think, and sharing this with you is the best I can do to make the world a bit more bright.

In that range of questions that i'm asked, my favorite to answer are the following: Those which stem from religious ideas and those which come from the scientific curiosity of the aspect. I'm often asked what made me gay—and I always, always answer jokingly. The truth is, there is no reason—I just am this way. To be more specific, I do not know whether or not this comes from a genetic code, from the way I was raised, to the people I interacted with. I have no clue on where to start when it comes to the science of sexuality. I can only read and watch and inform myself as best I can. I've found some very interesting gold nuggets of information along the way, and I want to share them with you.

At one point, I was browsing the Internet when I came across the thumbnail to an article done by Barbara Walters on the program 60 Minutes titled: Making Rats GAY? The Science of Sexuality. The first thought that crossed my mind was 'Heh, well, first rats, then the WORLD!', and interested, I clicked. It led me to a very interested Barbara Walters talking to some researchers about a study they had done trying to determine what made a person gay. The answer to the question that came from them was the same answer I can give to you: No one, not anyone, has an idea on how or why it happens. It just does. There is no cause. But as I said to one of the people who have asked me what the cause for homosexuality is: “If you want a cause, it means you want to remove it, and truth is, there is nothing wrong with being gay, so why remove it?” Sure, we're all curious about a cause, but my fear is they find a removable cause, like it's a sickness or something of the sort—and that, in society, can be extremely dangerous.

The study they presented showed that there is no genetic code that can make you gay. There are several recorded cases of twins—identical twins, who share the same genetic code, down to every single little genome-- whom one of them is gay and the other straight. The study also covered upbringing: people from all classes and backgrounds could be gay. There was no direct link to the way the parents raise a child to the occurrence of homosexuality in an individual. Hell, there's gay parents who raise perfectly heterosexual children. There is no cause. There is no reason. The fact of the matter is that it simply happens, and with that we should be perfectly happy. The science of sexuality studies dwindle down to a single possible explanation: It's random. A giant roulette where a select few get to be gay.

The other part that I encounter much questions from regard the religious aspect that works, in my case, against homosexuality. The religious paradigm that condemns homosexuality also pervades the society to which it is imperative. People ask me all the time whether or not I feel like a sinner, and they seem to argue, in their own little pious ways, that homosexuality is wrong—because, strangely enough, the people concerned the most with arguing religion and homosexuality with me are those who just happen to be part of the paradigm that goes against it. But, I digress. I'm often asked whether or not I feel like I'm betraying the word of God by being gay. There are several parts to this argument that I wish to address, because an answer would not be complete without the expression of these several ideas.

The first would be when we talk about religion. Homosexuality is condemned by judeo-christian religions, or so it is expressed by the more, uhm, vocal people who make a part of its people. The first problem with the condemnation of something by a religious group is that it does not affect everybody in the population. One must take into account those people who believe in other religions, and those religions which do not condemn homosexuality. The other problem with the condemnation argument is that, out of the million or so verses that the Bible possesses, only a select few discuss the topic of homosexuality—directly, or indirectly. When I say a select few, I mean only six. And out of those six, only one cites homosexuality per se: “If a man lie with a man as he doth with a woman, it shall be an abomination, and they shall be put to death”. It is a convincing little verse of the bible, but the very problem with this is that is is in the book of Leviticus, which is a part of the Old Testament, which also happens to be a book riled with ideas that most modern-day Christians do not follow. Leviticus goes on to say that it is a sin to work on Saturdays, and those of you who really need to work the saturday shift will either risk hell or foreclosure. It also says that a child who dishonors his or her parents shall be stoned, and that probably means that most of your kids are fucked. It also states that fabrics should not be mixed, which means that if you shop at any Old Navy will surely fry, for it is an abomination—it even says that shellfish are an abomination and shall not be eaten—and I'm sure that those of you who ate that plate of shrimp yesterday are seriously considering condemnation just to have some more of those pink fishy bastards.

When I disprove the idea that homosexuality is a sin as quoted from the bible, the argument usually turns to Sodom and Gomorrah. The argument is as follows: The sin-laden gomorrah, kind of like a modern Las Vegas, Nevada, was burnt to the ground as its people tried to rape some angels that came down from heaven with a holy message, and were spared by a man who offered his daughter in place of the Angels. (Way to take one for the team, girl!) However, their ways were allegedly punished by God when the city burned to the ground. However, it is stated later on that the great sin in this ancient city was not homosexuality, but lust, which I remind, is one of the seven deadly sins. If we were to go down by that standard, Las Vegas should have been scorched to the earth ages ago. Do we see the archangels coming down to burn The Mirage? What saddens me is that the information that is usually put forth by the people who try to call homosexuality a sin, as according to their Bible, don't really know the information all the way through—they just know of the paradigm, and enforce it, as ignorantly as they can, in blind faith of not what the bible says, but of what biased men have come up with. Whatever happened to the whole message and tenets that Jesus Christ set forth in the bible? Whatever happened to 'love thy neighbor'? Why, if religion is envisioned to be a force of unity, it is used as a source of dissent?

To be continued.

domingo, 10 de mayo de 2009

Se llena el Centro de Convenciones para el Pop Culture Expo 2009

||Se llena el Centro de Convenciones para el Pop Culture Expo 2009||

Antonio Ávila, MechaHumano.Com

En la multitud, varios individuos se distinguían de las demás personas que asistieron a el Pop Culture Expo que se llevó a cabo en el Centro de Convenciones de Puerto Rico: la gente reconocía su disfraz de los personajes que definen la cultura de los videojuegos y el animé.

De cierta manera, fue una fiesta de colores y disfraces. En la distancia se divisaba a Mystique, de la aclamada serie X-Men, posando para las cámaras. Las encarnaciones de los personajes de Mario, Peach, Daisy y Luigi, mascotas principales de los juegos de Nintendo, llamaban la atención instantáneamente. Vestidos de los personajes de Final Fantasy, varios grupos de amigos posaban frente a la fuente que se encuentra a la entrada del vasto Centro de Convenciones de Puerto Rico, deleitando al público con sus elaborados disfraces.

“Es algo más que estar disfrazado, no es como una fiesta de halloween.” Dice Lynette Robles, quien vestía de un personaje de Final Fantasy: Dirge of Cerberus. “Es dar tributo a los personajes que te entretienen, que alimentan la imaginación.” Ella, al igual que muchos otros, se había vestido en otras convenciones, pero “nunca había visto tanta gente haciendo cosplay a la misma vez.” Cosplay, o Costume Play, es el término que se utiliza cuando la persona encarna un personaje. “Esto rockea.” Añadió, con una sonrisa de oreja a oreja. Como muchos en la sala de convención, ella estaba en su elemento.

Una de las razones para que la gente se vistiera fue que los organizadores intentaban romper el Récord Guiness del número de personas en cosplay de videojuegos en un solo lugar. Aunque el número de disfrazados fue exorbitante, la cifra específica del récord de personajes de videojuegos fue 109—y en el Libro Guiness sobrepasa los 300. “En realidad no importa que no ganamos,” comenta Naomy Quiñones, de Río Piedras. “El expo estuvo bueno, me lo disfrute completo.”

Además de andar en disfraces, la convención tenía diferentes kioscos para el deleite de los visitantes. Grandes compañías como Primera Hora, Sony, Burger King, GameStop y Malta India tenían kioscos donde vendían productos, proveían entretenimiento y organizaban torneos de juegos. Gran parte del centro fue utilizado para hacer torneos de juegos de diferentes plataformas, con premios para los jugadores. Figuras importantes se dieron cita a la convención, como el actor de la voz de Edward Elric de Fullmetal Alchemist, Vic Mignona, quien llenó la tarima de personas interesadas en conocer la voz detrás del personaje.

Además del entretenimiento, los kioscos en la convención tuvieron el propósito de hacer ventas, particularmente de cosas que no se consiguen en cualquier otra tienda en Puerto Rico. Memorabilia japonesa, figurillas, juegos vintage entre otras cosas se vendían en los kioscos. Este servidor tuvo la dicha de marcharse del centro de convenciones con una caja de Pocky (Un dulce japones que es popular entre las personas que conocen de la cultura animé) y un peluche de el Power Star de Mario. (Si, salí de ahí muy contento.)

Lo más importante de la convención es que reúne a personas con intereses similares. En la convención se hacen muchas amistades y personas que no se ven durante mucho tiempo se reencuentran convención. No es solamente un culto a lo geek, sino una convocatoria de amigos, que se reúnen a formar parte de el mundo que los hizo ser fans con orgullo.


jueves, 11 de septiembre de 2008

Regueton: El cambio no drástico.

Digamos, por un momento, que las modas son recicladas digamos, no sé, cada veinte años. Efectivamente, la idea del reciclaje es poder tomar algo usado, viejo, y darle un nuevo look, un nuevo sabor--en esencia, refrescar la idea de algo que ya estaba obsoleto. En la música será común encontrar que, al pasar los años, la música--y en base a esto, su género-- se asegura que, aunque es el mismo ritmo, la misma clave, cada canción tenga algo notablemente distinto entre cada tema. Más notable aún, los géneros musicales tienen la capacidad de evolucionar a través de los años, convirtiendose no solamente en el género, pero algo más. El cambio hace que el género de música se siente como algo viviente, un organismo que crece.

Si esto es un dado, entonces...
¿Por qué carajo el regueton sabe a la misma mierda, sin importar de que año sea?

En la naturaleza del reciclaje, aún la mierda se convierte en algo diferente--ya sea composta, o lo que sea-- pero siempre toma una forma diferente. Pero, el regueton lo han reciclado ya por más de una década, y sorprendentemente no ha cambiado--El 'tun-Ca~tun-Ca!' si acaso ha mostrado una leve variacion de aqui alla, pero en realidad, puedes conseguir mejores y mas diversos ritmos de un mono retardado con un palo de escoba y un pandero atado a sus pezones. Yeah. I said it.

Quisiera hacer la aclaración: Este articulo se referirá más sobre el género que sobre sus artistas...

Porque si me pongo a hablar de esos cabrones, moriria de fatiga, como el chinito aquel que jugaba World of Warcraft.

Quisiera, como buen pensador, poder disecar este problema, atacandolo desde el punto de vista de alguien que conoce la música, personalmente; La realidad es que, si hicieran bachilleratos de música en base a el regueton, solamente encontrarías los cursos en ICPR Junior College o en algúna universidad de mierda que se encuentre por ahi. Yo estoy en la Upi, no tengo tanto fuckin TIEMPO.

Más que, para poder estudiar la musica, tendría que de verdad sentarme a escucharla, y a la persona que fucking PIENSA, el escuchar regueton desde un iPod por mas de cinco minutos tiene exactamente el mismo efecto que sentarse en el area de fallout de una bomba atomica. Asi, que, no, no me sentaría a escucharlo. Preferiria sentarme en el medio de un recien-arrasado hiroshima. Seguro, moriría de la radiación, pero no tendria que escuchar esa mierda.

La realidad es que no tengo la estámina, en serio, es una jodienda. Es como tener que escuchar tres horas corridas de Andrea Bocelli con laringitis. A los quince minutos ya estoy sangrando por las orejas... Y aun asi, prefiero a Bocelli sobre cualquier rapero de mierda.

No tengo una santa fucking idea como poder atacar esto, asi que apelare a su sentido común. Vaya a Youtube. Busque Plan B. Escuche Guata Uba, whatever the fuck that is. Ahora, escuche cualquier producción reciente.

Proceda a ponerse una pistola a la sién, y dispare si puede escuchar mas de dos minutos, sin efectos secundarios severos. En serio, para mi es mas saludable tomar una rola con ciclon, y terminar en el hospital en coma, que escuchar por más de un minuto. Y mire, que yo valoro mi mente.

Terminaré esta entrada eventualmente. Me puse a escuchar a Wisin y Yandel y vomité en el teclado. To Be Cont.